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Assessing functional connectivity patterns within and among human visual cortical areas associated with contextual influences on visual perception


Neurophysiological studies in the second half of last century using simple isolated stimuli have provided invaluable groundwork to understand aspects of human visual system, and led to the classical feed-forward model of vision. In the classical model the information processing occurs in a hierarchical manner in the visual system and the direction of information flow is more or less unidirectional. However a recurring theme in recent research is that it is not always possible to predict behavioral or neural responses to stimuli embedded in real-world context based on previous measurements made to isolated stimuli. These recent studies have demonstrated that the flow of information could be much more multi-directional than the classical model has predicted. In the studies proposed here, using behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques, functional connectivity patterns within and among visual cortical areas that give rise to the contextual influences on visual perception will be investigated.

Cognitive neuroscience studies biological mechanisms that underlie cognitive functions, in other words, the connection between the brain and mind. A detailed understanding of the brain and mind will have a dramatic impact on all aspects of human life, from health to social wealth and to national security. Vision constitutes a particularly attractive model for cognitive neuroscience research because the input to the system can be measured precisely in physical units, such as the luminance of a surface in candelas per meter square. Furthermore, the sub processes of a visual function can be identified relatively easily. Both of these properties make well controlled experimentation possible. The findings of this project will make a significant contribution to our understanding of the brain and mind, thereby contributing to EU's scientific excellence and social competitiveness.

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Eskisehir Yolu 8 Km
06800 Bilkent Ankara
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 100 000
Administrative Contact
Abdullah Atalar (Prof.)